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Thursday, March 22, 2012
March 22, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:59 PM :: 12079 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Van Jones at Abercrombie State Bank Rally: Obama Opponents ‘Hate Everybody In America’

Socialists Cheer 'Potential Champion' Hirono--Single out her Support for Windfarm Scammers

SB2492: Hearing Looms on Hawaii Dog Ownership Ban

International visitor spending in US hits all-time record of $153 billion

FOCUS Act May Save Fishing Crews from Prison

Rebound Rumble: Robotics Meet to Bring 1000 Competitors to Honolulu

Council Votes to Spend Half Billion on rail

SA: The City Council grilled members of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit Wednesday on points ranging from spending federal dollars for coloring books to the wisdom of approving preliminarily the sale of bonds they may reject later.

After several hours of verbal skirmishing, however, Council members voted to advance:

  • Bill 31, which clears a $22.8 million operating budget for the agency as well as transfers of an expected $213 million in general excise tax revenues to be used for project costs.
  • Bill 32, which approves $491.6 million in capital improvements for the $5.27 billion rail project, expected to run from East Kapolei to the Ala Moana area.
  • Bill 33, which authorizes the sale of general obligation bonds of an undetermined amount for the transit project.

KITV: Council members question public outreach campaign for rail transit

HR: 'Propaganda' - That's What Councilmember Calls Coloring Books, Youth Web Site, Aimed at Promoting City Rail to Children

read … Rail

Cayetano: Mayor Cut Police, Fire

CB: At the end of a press conference he called last week to talk about internal Federal Transit Administration emails critical of the Honolulu rail project, Ben Cayetano made a quick pivot to the "truth squad" he's formed to look at city government operations.

"Already, in the city's own budget recently passed, the mayor has cut out funding for police and for fire and for other services which in my opinion are important. I recall one appropriation that he cut out had to do with the purchase of new radios. Those kind of things are important, but now they're beginning to suffer."

read … Cuts

Thielen: '‘Gut n Replace’ SB755 Disgraceful

CB: In a sign of how fast the House is pushing SB 755, Wednesday's hearing was hastily arranged for 11:15 a.m., just 45 minutes before House floor session was scheduled to begin.

Two other bills were heard first, pushing the clock to 11:46 a.m.

Less than 20 minutes later, at 12:03 p.m., however, Rep. Har said the hearing on SB 755 would have to continue Thursday morning with a vote on it follow.

At that point, Rep. Cynthia Thielen, a Republican and persistent critic of bills like SB 755, had had enough. She told Har the committees should just table the bill for good.

"This is an environmental destruction measure," she said, color filling her complexion. "This is not the way this legilsative body should operate. It's not right. This is the wrong way to do this."

"Thank you, so noted," said Har, tersely, saying there had previously been adequate hearing on several parts of the bill. "This is a second bite of the apple."

Har then gaveled the hearing to a close.

"Disgraceful," said Thielen.

Political Radar: Part VI

read … Disgraceful

SA: Lets Spend $7416 per Semester per Student to Bring Illegals to UH Manoa

Star-Adv Editorial: At the University of Hawaii-Manoa, nonresident tuition for full-time students is $11,616 per semester, compared to only $4,200 for residents. Although the UH is aware of only five present students who might qualify, UH officials say as many as 1,300 students could take statewide advantage of the legislation. For many, the availability of state financial aid could be critical, although Monisha Das Gupta, a UH ethnic studies professor, says an expectation of 200 would be "very optimistic." ($1.4M per semester for 200 illegals. Maybe they will focus on alleviating Hawaii’s shortage of Muslim illegals.)

The Hawaii version of the Dream Act would be an important vehicle for those and future young people who were born abroad to play a significant role in the state…. (In other words, this is a way to leverage foreigners to force ‘change’ on America. And the key is to avoid making them legal. If they become legal, they will cease to be an agent for change.)

BTW: Ed Case's 2006 "felony" vote: Greens vs. Illegals

read … More Illegals Needed

Hold onto your wallets: Bill would bypass competitive bidding for airport concessions

ILind: SB 2337 circumvents the requirement that the Department of Transportation’s Airports Division conduct public bids for the award of hundreds of million of dollars worth of concession contracts. SB2337 will allow the DOT to “negotiate” with incumbent concessionaires and exchange new contracts in return for some undefined investment – probably investment in the concessions own infrastructure.

Note that the last duty free contract never went to bid. In fact, in 50 years the same company has been the exclusive operator. Same, same for the food and beverage operators – preserved in their monopoly by the DOT using RFPs that eliminate the possibility of participation by other firms – and there are many other billion-dollar players that want to be here. Federal contracts require participation by so-called “Disadvantaged Business Enterprises” – DBEs and once again the same crop of companies are the DBEs with never an outreach to local companies to participate….

The committee report from the House Committee on Transportation, included this observation.

Your Committee also finds that improvements at Hawaii’s airports concessions have not kept pace with passenger needs and demands. A recent study by the State indicates that various areas at our public airports are lacking in concession space by as much as 40 percent. In addition, the study indicates that Hawaii’s public airports are not maximizing the revenues they could be receiving from airport concession operations if additional concession spaces were provided and concession locations were also improved. These improvements reportedly would not only pay for themselves but would also generate additional revenues for Hawaii’s public airports.

read … Hold onto your wallets: Bill would bypass competitive bidding for airport concessions

Schatz Emerges as Point Man for Green Energy Scammers

CB: Hawaii’s Ambassador of Energy could be a fitting title for Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz.

This week Schatz was in Washington D.C. meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Energy where they went over “point by point every aspect of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative” – the state’s blueprint for transitioning to renewable energy.

And in April, he is off to Japan and Korea where he will meet with government officials on energy issues.

The state’s second in command has made Hawaii’s clean energy policy his top focus. Fresh out of a meeting with the head of the state energy office last week, Schatz sat down with Civil Beat to discuss his new leadership role in the state’s push toward renewable energy.

“Strategy is execution,” he said when asked what the plan was. The quote's from Jack Welch, but Schatz was quick with a disclaimer that he shared no political affinity with the politically conservative, former chief of General Electric. (What a weenie. He can’t even quote Jack Welch without a paragraph of freaking disclaimers. Pathetic man child.)

read … Schatz

Union OKs Tesoro Hawaii refinery labor contract

Reuters: United Steelworkers union members at Tesoro Corp's 93,500 barrel-per-day Kapolei, Hawaii, refinery approved a new contract as workers at five other of the company's refineries threaten a strike, a union spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Workers in Hawaii approved the agreement because of Tesoro's plan to sell the Kapolei plant, said USW spokeswoman Lynne Hancock.

"Everyone saw them as in a special circumstance," Hancock said. "They approved the contract so Tesoro could find a buyer who will keep the refinery open."

read … Tesoro

Haleakala geothermal energy plan progresses

MN: Drilling could begin next year on test wells for a geothermal energy project on Haleakala.

Ormat Technologies Inc. filed an environmental impact statement preparation notice with the Board of Land and Natural Resources last month, signaling its intention to go ahead with the project it announced in 2011….

"Geothermal has a long history in Hawaii," states the company's filing. It notes that in ancient times, Native Hawaiians used volcanic steam to cook food; and that King David Kalakaua even "inquired of Thomas Edison in 1881 about making geothermal electricity on the Big Island and transporting it to Oahu through an undersea cable."

Ormat met with the Kula Community Association to present its project last May and with the University of Hawaii Maui College's Sustainable Living Institute a month later.

The company would need around 10 additional county, state and federal approvals to proceed with development, according to the report.

Ormat has noted that, a portion of the time, exploratory drills are not able to find a suitable location for a geothermal plant. Officials have said that they have enough funding to attempt between two and six test wells.

However, "Ormat's initial exploratory studies indicate the potential for a commercially usable geothermal resource in the area," the report states.

Punatics State Babbling About Geo Again: Neighbor from Hell?

read … Haleakala Geothermal

Children Used to Push State funds for KSBE

KITV: Supporters of two new bills in the state legislature gathered at the capitol on Tuesday, concerned about the future of Hawaii's early education system. Hundreds of supporters in favor for change said less than half of Hawaii's public school kindergartners attend preschool, leaving many keiki entering the classroom unprepared.

Keiki from preschools across O'ahu sang and spoke on behalf of future keiki. The state's youngest citizens put their best foot forward in support of early learning.."It helps a keiki grown to know about the future and to know what's their right, and education is their right," said Jason Weatherholtc, preschool parent.

read … KSBE

Worth Every Penny: 'Extraordinary Costs' In Occupy Honolulu Raids

CB: (A column by an Occupier whining about the cost of removing Occupy Honolulu from Thomas Sq.)

(6) Cost of creating homeless people. This last item is not so much a cost category than a simple analysis using the figures from the answers above:

Number of people who have tents seized — Number of people who recover tents — Number of people placed in who agreed to accept shelters = Number of people (choosing to be) without any kind of shelter

Of the hundreds of people who have had tents seized, only a few have been placed in shelters. The rest are just homeless people without tents or personal possessions who have been set out on the streets.

Further, if you divide the total costs by the above number of people rendered truly homeless by Bill 54, you will arrive at the amount of money spent by the City to create each new homeless person under Bill 54. (If you believe that somehow camping at Thomas Sq. is not homelessness.)

(So Occupy Honolulu is not a political protest, it is just another homeless camp filled with bums who refuse to accept shelter.)

read … 'Extraordinary Costs' In Occupy Honolulu Raids

Two Super PACs Register to Back Cayetano

CB: Two more so-called Super PACs have registered with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission. That brings the total number of independent-expenditure-only committees to five as of this week.

The two new ones are: A Better Hawaii PAC and Save Paradise.

Christopher J. Racine of a Honolulu address is listed as chairperson of A Better Hawaii PAC. He is president of Mokupuni Television Co. The committee lists its “area, scope or jurisdiction” as “single candidate,” and lists Honolulu mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano on its organizational report.

Steven Sue, also of a Honolulu address, is listed as chairperson of Save Paradise. He is founder and president of StoryManager. This committee also lists Cayetano as its single candidate in the “area, scope or jurisdiction” column. Both committees list Diane M. Sandlin of Kailua as treasurer.

read … Super PACs

Cost of Cronin: $1.2M

SA: The protest stems from a decision by Cronin shortly after he took over the job in February 2008.

Hart InterCivic was awarded a $43.3 million contract for new electronic voting machines through the 2016 elections, with an option to extend it to 2018. ES&S, which had submitted a competing bid at $18 million, protested the award.

In August 2008, an administrative hearings officer ruled the Elections Office acted in bad faith in awarding the contract, which he described as "clearly unreasonable," to Hart. With the 2018 option, the court officer estimated the cost of the contract at about $53 million.

After the protest, Cronin defended the award, saying he analyzed both bids and found ES&S' to be insufficient. Cronin said he had the "misfortune to be the subject of a protest and appeal that takes advantage of an obscure statute that is not clear and equally obtuse rules."

The hearings officer said Cronin, by his own admission, was unqualified to do the cost analysis and acted in bad faith by attempting to "manipulate both the data and the facts in order to justify the award."

Cronin resigned at the end of 2009 without giving a reason.

His tenure was marked by legal challenges, including the 2008 contract award and a challenge on Maui that was upheld by a Circuit Court judge that the voting machines were approved without proper administrative rules. New rules had to be adopted before the 2010 contract could be executed.

Hart bid again for the 2010 contract and won after ES&S was disqualified because it would not accept the state's liabilities requirement. The new contract continues through 2016 and cost $11 million.

Cronin also came under heavy criticism from the Legislature in 2009 for mismanaging the department and leaving it without funds needed to carry out the 2010 election or even pay its electricity costs for that year. Cronin had submitted an election plan that called for closing more than a quarter of the state's voting precincts because of a lack of staff and budget.

 

read … $1.2M

City Council Bill Will Force Horse Owners Off Ag Land

HR: The Honolulu City Council has introduced a Bill 44, relating to the taxation of real property, which will remove horses as "livestock". In doing so, they are attempting to circumvent "gentleman estates" from using horses as a tax exemption on their property. Unfortunately, by doing so, it has a huge impact on ALL horse owners, and the impact could be devastating.

read … Ag Land

UH Wants to Build Faculty Housing on Ag Land

KITV: Lawmakers at a joint Agriculture and Business House Committee hearing passed a resolution urging the University of Hawaii to support the agricultural use of the land over housing….

Scott Lukas works at the agricultural facility which is located just a stone’s throw from the UH Manoa campus. There is research under way that covers everything from aquaponics, aquaculture, to native plants. So the news that the parcel is one of two sites being eyed for faculty housing was a shocker.

read … Ag Land pt 2

Las Vegas reporter Oskar Garcia named as news editor for Hawaii and the Pacific Rim

AP: Oskar Garcia, a versatile reporter for The Associated Press in Las Vegas and leader in the company’s use of social media as a reporting tool, has been named news editor for Hawaii and the Pacific Rim….

Garcia has spent nearly six years with the AP, the past four in Las Vegas covering various subjects including the casino industry, tourism, the World Series of Poker and the Miss America pageant.

read … AP Hawaii

‘Corporate Personhood’ drivel Laughed out of Court

News Release: A motion for leave to appeal a Federal Court order in the current MF Global “Corporate Personhood” case was filed on Tuesday by former MF Global customer, Adam Furgatch of Hawaii. Mr. Furgatch’s originally filed motion, which raised the issue of “corporate personhood” in the ongoing MF Global bankruptcy case, was denied by Judge Martin Glenn after being heard in Federal Bankruptcy Court on March 6th.

Read … What happens when Academic Marxism Meets the Real World


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